Sunday, August 31, 2008

Racing w/Cancellara in Gruyere

Just so happens we signed up for the same Tour as Cancellara, The Gruyere Tour. After the "race", he was autographing jerseys. So I got him to sign mine twice, on each shoulder. How fun.

Let me back up. Saturday night we drove down to Gruyere to meet up with Heather, Chris, and Daniel for the big race on Sunday!
Got our full kits, race numbers, and transponders from registration then headed up to check out the castle.

Watched the sunset before having a carb loading dinner of pasta.

Chris is a veteran of this race (and a shredder supreme) so he led our riders meeting and gave us a play by play of the course. 125 km with 6500' of climbing.

Early Sunday morning we ate our breakfast, put on our race numbers and transponders and rode over to the race start 2.5 miles away in Bulle.

Wow, this is a serious event. Rolling up to the start with a pack of 2,000 riders already in place. Uh oh, we've got to go to the back of this massive pack.

Not only did we get full kits with our fee, the race numbers have your name on them!

We had alot of folks to pass to work our way up to Cancellara.

I've never ridden in a pack of 2,000 where everyone was an excellent rider. It was an incredible experience!

It was like being in the Tour. We had our own cameramen, motorcycle leads, a policeman at every intersection or road hazard. It was unbelieveable. Seriously, when my pack of 15 came within 5 miles of the finish, we had our own motorcycle escort.

Approaching the base of the first long arse climb (8 miles), Buggy and Gustav are looking strong even though the pace was fierce!

There were folks along the course the whole way cheering us on, in French though, so I'm not sure what they were saying.

No matter how far I moved up, there was a constant stream of cyclists ahead. The climbs didn't break up the masses like I'm used to in the gaps. Everyone hammered non stop.

Switchback after switchback.

The sound of cow bells clanking was a neat serenade to help ease the pain.

They know how to do feed zones. It was impressive.

The downhills were fabulous and the pack I was in was flying as if in the Tour. It was like having an out of body experience for me. I couldn't take any pictures on the real downhills because it was a bit dangerous at 41 mph.

My first Euro paceline. It was intimidating, but I did it! These guys are for real!

Chris and Daniel finished in 4 hrs. I was nipping at their heels at 4hrs 50min.
We were all happy campers once we crossed the finish line!

It was an all downhill ride back to the hotel.
Then we headed over to Vevey to see Lake Geneva and eat some well deserved ice cream. It was a most excellent epic day!!!!!!

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